Bradley not getting carried away
December 16, 2011
Edinburgh scrum-half Mike Blair breaks away from the Cardiff Blues defence © Getty Images
Edinburgh head coach Michael Bradley expressed satisfaction after his side joined Cardiff Blues at the top of Heineken Cup Pool Two with a 19-12 win at Murrayfield tonight.
Tim Visser's first-half try and a 14-point kicking haul from Greig Laidlaw ended the Blues' unbeaten run and earned Edinburgh a third win from four European matches to put them in with a chance of a first quarter-final appearance in eight years. The January fixtures at home to London Irish and against Racing Metro in Paris will decide Edinburgh's fate following a comfortable success, albeit without scoring a second-half point.
Dan Parks kicked three penalties for the Blues, who clinched a losing bonus point which could prove crucial when Leigh Halfpenny booted a 79th-minute penalty. Bradley said: "After four matches we're joint top of the group. Hopefully that [the losing bonus point] won't be a key factor at the end of the pool. As a performance that was a very good performance. We've three wins out of four in this competition. It's not a bad start."
The Blues fielded five of Wales' World Cup stars and opted to make Gavin Henson continue to wait for his debut, but their back line, in particular, failed to flourish as they suffered their first loss in the competition.
Much of Edinburgh's good play came through Laidlaw, who gave Scotland head coach Andy Robinson food for thought up against international colleague Parks, who may yet miss out on a place in the RBS 6 Nations squad. Bradley was pleased with the difference in his side from last week's 25-8 loss in Cardiff as Edinburgh recorded a first win over the Blues in eight attempts.
"We did so well in the breakdown and the contest from a physical point of view. The rest of our game fell into place for large portions of the match," Bradley added. "I think it was a much-improved performance by us on last week.
"Cardiff did very well last week at the breakdown and they physically dominated us. The boys were very, very good this week. The consistency of performance was better in terms of the quality of the work at the breakdown. More players got it right and it made a huge difference to us - we were able to put a lot of pressure on Cardiff, particularly in the first half."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?